MARTIN, Tenn. - Steve Legens makes one simple suggestion to almost all of the Ford cars and trucks that customers bring in to Legens Hot Rod Shop in Martin, Tenn., about 150 miles west of Nashville.
Put a Coyote in it.
“I push the Coyote motors to anyone that brings in a Ford,” said Legens. “Ford has come a long way in the performance area with us street rodders and hot rodders. I’ve had people come in and think the Coyote is too big, but we can usually get it to fit.”
One of Legens’ latest efforts will be on display at Autorama in Detroit this weekend, a 1960 Ford pickup truck that features a ton of custom body work with nods to the Fords of old. And yes, it has a Coyote under the hood.
“We did this for a local customer. It’s his first custom vehicle and he wanted a stock look with a few twists on the outside. We thought we might do it in black, but he was set on red,” Legens said.
“It’s a 1960 Ford, but we did some 1958 stuff on the front end. It has custom bumpers and a custom hood. There was trim that was two and a half feet long but stopped eight inches short of the hood. We stretched it so it runs the length of the truck. There was a fin tail design in back, and we took that all the way to the bed.”
Surrounding the custom tailgate are two stacked taillights that mimic those in the front.
“The ’58 and ’60 Fords had the double headlights but the bed just had the one taillight,” said Legens. “We decided to do two on the back to match the front. The two on the front are horizontal, while the two on the back are vertical. It looks like it should have been that way all along.”
Legens went with a distressed pecan leather interior in the cab. The original hood had an emblem with a lightning bolt and gear, which Legens integrated into the back of the seats. He also put the emblem on the engine cover that was built to hide wires. His shop completely revamped the interior, keeping the stock cluster.
One fun bit of innovation was added to one of the boards in the bed, allowing easier access to the fuel tank. Since of the boards needs to pop up, Legens put in a Fuel Filler Concealment Kit that raises the board at the press of a button. The kit is one of 150 products that Legens produces.
Advance Plating handled the chrome on the truck, which rides on Schott wheels – 20-inchers on the rear, 18-inchers up front – and Pirelli tires. The Coyote motor is mated to a Borla fuel injection system.
The pickup made its public debut at the SEMA show in Las Vegas last November, and Legens looks forward to coming back to Detroit this week. He is no stranger to Autorama, having displayed his cars in years past, including one in the Ridler Award competition in 2006.
Legens continues to preach the gospel of the Coyote, having first installed one in a 1940 Ford pickup. He has a 1940 Ford coupe with a Coyote and estimates he leads the nation in Coyote conversions at his shop, which has been going strong for 25 years.
“We did a 1963 Ford Galaxie for the Good Guys giveaway car,” Legens said. “We took it on the road tour and put 1,800 miles on it over eight days in the summer.”